Monday, December 27, 2010

A snowman made out of the bottoms of pop bottles!

Elder de Jesus and me slaving over the grill

Hey there,

Well, Christmas is over, and my saudades* have been satiated, as I got to hear the voices of my family for the first time in 7 months, or in the case of my sister, Danielle, 16 months. As cruel as it sounds, I believe there is no other way to gain a greater appreciation of something you have until you have "lost it." And what could be of greater importance than your own family? Certainly I have learned to appreciate and understand the necessity of their existence in my life, and while I thought I understood before my mission, I was wrong, I could only see the tip of the iceberg. It was a sweet experience to talk with them.

Well, all things considered, Christmas wasn't as horrible as I thought it would be. (our boxes from home have been misplaced by postal service...) We spent the whole day at the home of the coolest family in the ward, goofing off. We played UNO for I don't know how long. I have come to understand that UNO is an international game. And we had a sweet barbecue as well. Good times.

I'm kinda out of time already. Oops.

If you haven't sent me a box of goodies for Christmas, don't fret, I'm a very forgiving person, and will easily be able to comprehend the reasons if it shows up late. You reading this, yes you, look into your heart, and search out your feelings and follow them. Your true feelings should be telling you that you need to have compassion on that poor little missionary in Brazil who is living in a desolate state of agony, that could easily be reduced if he received a package of American goodies. (ie. tootsie rolls, caramel treasures, reeces....etc...) And if that isn't possible, how about a belated Christmas card?

Don't be a grinch.

Elder Titus

*yearning, missing

Monday, December 20, 2010

To receive an answer from God a person must ask with a desire to know...

Elder de Jesus and me being festive


Christmas sucks so bad in Brazil! Here are 3 reasons that support my Thesis:
2- There are no evergreen trees
3- A great present to me is a box of American candy
4- Santa Claus is dark skinned and speaks Portuguese
5- My only family members are missionaries

Nonetheless, I don't really care that much, it's quite the norm now, seeing as that I've experienced it before.

Well, this week was quality. At the conference with Elder Araujo, he told us that Elder Scott once said that all missionaries will have to experience what he calls, "the hour of truth," or when you have to let your investigator know that he (or she) needs to accept baptism, or you'll have to stop teaching them. Well, after 1 month of inviting Florizia to get baptized unsuccessfully, she finally accepted. Weird.

And remember that 13 year old girl that smokes and drinks? She also is making the necessary changes so she can get baptized. Maicon, her brother, is as well, but he's not as motivated.

So, what's teaching like in Arapongas? Teaching here is great! The people here are mostly friendly, and receptive. On Saturdays we usually teach at least 7 lessons. So why don't we baptize more often? Good question. We find a lot of "mole" (mol-ee) people, which is a person that doesn't progress. Most people are very gullible. For example, we can teach the restoration and at the end I always ask if they would like to know for themselves if it is true. And almost 90% of the time, the people say, "Oh its true," which would be a remarkable answer if they truly did know. However, people here believe that any subject that talks of God is true. I remember one time at the end of a lesson, some lady said that to us, and I told her, "actually, its not true." Then we waited to see her reaction -- then she understood better what she had just said. I explained to her, it's great that you guys believe our message, I too believed it when I was taught by the missionaries, however there is a difference between believe and know, in order to know, you guys need to ask God, sincerely, if it's true.

Which is the hardest part! To receive an answer from God a person must ask with a desire to know, or else they won't get an answer. For that reason we have to help the people understand the necessity of the need to know, and how to get the desire to know.

2nd reason we don't baptize muito: Sin!! 5 substances that Latter-day saints must refrain from: drugs, tobacco, alcohol, coffee and tea. Unfortunately, these are the 5 most popular substances in Brazil. And it's not even that hard to help people stop using these things, but for them to stop they must want to stop, and for them to want to stop, they must have a reason, to have a reason they need to have received and answer from God. Which all boils back down to them wanting to know if what we teach is true.

In conclusion, many are called, but few are chosen.

Hope ya'll have a Merry Christmas. Enjoy the presence of your family members, and other things that are so easily accessible to you. (ie candy, snow.....) and don't forget the real purpose of Christmas!

Elder Titus

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Lord sent you two of his representatives and you chased them away . . .

Elder Schirmer, me, and Elder Dunn

The new chapel in Apucarana


Well, this week was way good. So, Tuesday we all went to Apucarana for the open house. 6 of the 14 missionaries stayed on the street corner close to the building and invited all the people to go in real quick. It was interesting because that particular stretch of sidewalk is occupied primarily by joggers/walkers. Nonetheless, within 2 hours we were able to get 53 people to go in. All 53 liked the new chapel a lot.

Thursday morning, we were all to catch a bus to go to Londrina. We were supposed to leave at 6:20, but it didn’t show up until 7:00. Meanwhile, me and Elder Schirmer went into a Catholic church and watched a part of the mass.

Well, at the conference on Friday, I got to see all my buds from the MTC (Mission Training Center), minus Elder Gibbons. Everyone is doing really well! Elder Soares received a last minute assignment by the Twelve Apostles, and Elder Araujo from the Area Seventy took his place. We were disappointed at first, but he turned out to be WAAYYY good. This guy is a legend. He served as a mission president in Portugal in the 90´s. Before he got there, the record for baptisms in one month was 17!!! After a little while, he had one month where they baptized 250!!!!! He said the average for his 3 years was 117 a month. To give some comparison, the northeast missions of Brazil are some of the highest baptizing missions in the world with the record of 450in one month in Recife, but now they have an average of 250. WE here in Londrina last month baptized 44. In conclusion, the dude was a monster of a mission president. Lisbon, Portugal will be getting a temple, too.

Elder Araujo is super funny, big and kinda scary. He shared many, many stories, but I don’t have a lot of time to share them. However, one that I liked went like this: There was a set of elders and they knocked on one door, and an old man was clipping his hedges, and then he ran after them with his clippers. The next day, one of the elders was transferred and the elder that remained was given a greeny to be his new companion. To show him what it’s like, as a joke, he went back to this man’s house and let his new companion knock on the door. The man came out, and after a pause, started crying. Turns out his wife had died the day before, and that night after he had chased the missionaries away, he had a dream and in the dream his wife said, “The Lord sent you two of his representatives to help comfort you, and you chased them away. What were you thinking?” Then he prayed to the Lord that He would send them back. The rest is history. He ended up getting baptized.

Lots of stories like that.

Then he asked a question: “Is God happy with our mission?” We all thought, then shook our heads. Then he said, “Indeed He is happy, but He´s not satisfied.” He offered us some suggestions. He told us we are lacking courage, and also that we need to heed the prophet’s call of getting more missionaries, which means we need to baptize more willing young men between 17-24. Which reminds me: Last January I baptized a young man named Jefferson along with his family, I got news last week that he has sent in his papers!!!!!! There is no greater satisfaction than that.

One last thing; at the Christmas Conference we had on Saturday, we had a cake contest. Everyone else made temples with their cakes. We made a butterfly.

I’m out of time now.

Elder Titus

Our awesome butterfly cake!

Monday, December 6, 2010

There is a ton of advertising for the open house . . .

Beautiful sunset over Arapóngas

Read about what happened to missionaries walking by this church . . .

Well, today we have a “p-morning,” because “p-day” will end at 1:00, due to the conferences this week. Thursday all the missionaries serving in Paraná (ie, from Londrina, Apucarana, Maringá, Cascavel and Iguaçu Falls) will go to Londrina to participate in our special Zone Conference, featuring Elder Soares from the Seventies. And then all the missionaries will sleep in Londrina. I have no idea where they will put us all! Then on Friday, it will be our Christmas Conference. I’m stoked, because I´ll get to see a lot of people I haven’t seen since last year’s Christmas Conference, like Elder Burt and Elder Parrott, and a lot of people I haven’t seen in a long time, like Elder McCombs, too. Should be fun.

Tomorrow, the missionaries from Arapóngas and some members from here, will go to Apucarana to run one of the days for the open house of the new chapel there. Some missionaries will be outside inviting everyone to go in (it’s smack in the middle of downtown). And some will be running the exposition and getting addresses. The members will be greeting people and showing the chapel. There is a ton of advertising for the open house, it’s in the paper, on the radio, and the TV, not to mention the 10 missionaries in Apucarana constantly talking to everyone on the streets. Should be fun, too! I´ll take pictures.


The church in Apucarana is 50 years old! The church is Arapóngas is 13 years old, and is 20 minutes from Apucarana. What took so long? We found out this last week, thanks to Juan, the guy from Argentina. It turns out that in 1973 there WERE missionaries in Arapóngas. However, one day the missionaries were walking by THIS very church to go home, when all of a sudden people came out of the church and started throwing rocks at the missionaries. Whether they died or not we don’t know. Probably not. But either way, it got back to the First Presidency, and they shut down our church in Arapóngas for about 33 years. This church is 100 yards from our apartment. haha. But, there are no more problems. In that time, everyone was Catholic, so there wasn’t much they could do to go to court with the church. Now-a-days, most people are non-practicing, or evangelical.

Well gotta go!

- Elder Titus

Monday, November 29, 2010


This week was swell. Thursday morning I got a call from our beloved zone leaders, Elder Carvalho and Elder Ingram, mainly with the intention of mooching off my cell phone minutes to call some Irmã (sister) in their ward about lunch because they used up all their minutes. But, they also called to inform me that I am now the leader of the largest district in the mission. There is a city in the state of São Paulo called Osvaldo Cruz, which has a little branch, and I guess the missionaries there had some sort of security problems and they were “emergency transferred" to Apucarana for a while. I have yet to hear what actually happened -- stay tuned. Elder Shaddick is now buddied up with Elder Campelo, and Elder Woodward is with Elder Fonseca, so we now have 8 in the district. I don’t know either of them, although I have heard a little about Elder Shaddick, and I think he´s got around a year on the mish and Elder Woodward has about 6 months. Well, I guess we´ll find out more tomorrow at District Meeting. Poor Elder Schirmer will be missing out on the fun because he will be going to Londrina to get fingerprinted and to have his visa renewed.

We found another part-member family. Sandra, who has been inactive for 3 years, lives in a house with her kids, and her brother Paulo, and his kids, Mikon, and Juliana. Paulo´s gonna be difficult because he likes the bar, if you know what I mean. But his son Mikon is cool. He’s 14 years old. So Sunday morning at 8:40 we go to pick them up to go to church. Their grandma goes to wake them up and out walks Juliana, half way clothed, stumbling out the door, drunk. She´s 13. She had come home at 5:00 AM from a party. She told us that Mikon didn’t want to wake up, so I asked if we could come in. When we got inside, we went into Mikon's room and pulled off his sheets and woke him up to go to church. Turns out that he had stayed up until 4:00 in the morning, waiting for Juliana to come home. We asked him why he didn’t go to the party, and he said that he doesn’t like loud noise. Well, that’s good. So after some delay we got him to go to church, and he enjoyed it. Good kid. Sucks about his family though. We´ll see what we can do to help.

Last week on the way to a lunch appointment that was quite far away, we met Jesus. Brazil is pretty cool. I don't know anywhere else where you can find so many random statues of Christ.

Speaking of Rio de Janeiro, my mother and I are SO glad that I didn’t get called to go there. Boy, it’s a mess. It’s literally a war between drug traffickers and the police/army. I believe they are trying to clean it up for the Olympics and the World Cup here in a few years. In the mean time, many people are dying, with tons of buses being burnt, and there is constant gun fire, not only in the ghettos, but in the city as well. Crazy.

Yea for peaceful Londrina!

(that’s my nickname . . .)

Monday, November 22, 2010

He speaks a lot of “Portañol”

So, mom says that it is snowing in Covington! That’s weird. It seems that the weather has been kinda crazy everywhere. It’s actually not THAT hot here, whereas last year I wanted to die. And it’s not just because I’ve gotten used to it, its actually kinda cold here. But, that’s a good thing, and I’m not gonna complain. Have fun with the snow!

So the branch here in Arapóngas is pretty cool. It has an attendance of 100 people. It was established in 1996, and is currently the Stake Center for Apucarana, a much larger city south of us, about 30 minutes away. However, Apucarana is just finishing a monster church building (2 stories) there, so when the new building is complete, it will become the Stake Center, and we’ll just go back to having a branch building. The members here are all nice and cool. The pioneer member here is actually from Argentina, his name is Juan. He got baptized in 1957, and shortly after that, he immigrated to Brasil, where he has been helping out the church a lot. He is a very large man, and speaks a lot of “Portañol” (Português + Español), but it was fun to talk with him yesterday. We talked for an hour. Awesome dude.

Elder de Jesus, my companion who is fresh from the MTC, is doing awesome. He is obedient and hard working and I’m proud to call him my filho (son).

Well, I’m super out of time today.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Two New Techniques We've Been Asked to Implement

Elders in the Arapóngas District

Bruna's baptism

E aí? (means: what’s up? Pronounced: ee-eye-ee)

Surprise. We had a baptism on Saturday. So, the general authorities are having us use 2 new techniques that Elder de Jesus and I put into practice on Saturday. First of all, they are emphasizing the importance of missionaries visiting with less active people whose families are not all baptized. For example, there is a lady that was baptized who is inactive, and whose husband isn’t a member. So the missionaries are visiting with them. Well, when we first got here we had a meeting with the leadership of Arapóngas, and they sent me and Elder de Jesus to visit a less active family, that had not been to church in 10 years, but had been sealed in the temple. They have a daughter who had gone to a Young Women’s activity the previous week. We went there last week on Thursday the 4th. Turns out the family was cool. Bruna is the name of their daughter. She’s 15. We marked her baptism for the 13th of November which she accepted. It was weird though because she was initially excited, then got super weird and on Monday she didn’t wanna get baptized anymore. So we were like, “Yo, ask God if it’s what you should do.” The day before, she had told her parents “I’m no longer a girl of the world any more, I’m a girl of God.” So I used that to our advantage. I ripped out a picture of baptism from the 3rd lesson pamphlet and had her write that phrase on a sticky note that I had, and then had her tape the picture and the note on her closet. Well, she got an answer and got baptized on the 13th.

Technique #2, they want us to have the members do more of the actual baptizing. So we had Irmão Mario baptize Bruna. When Mario was investigating the church 10 years ago it was Bruna’s dad that helped him get baptized. It was cool to have Mario baptize Bruna. And Bruna’s family came to the baptism and is working hard on coming back to church.

Anyway, things are going really well here in Arapóngas, except all the streets here have bird names!!!!! It is so weird! Arapóngas is a bird. EVERY STREET has some freaky bird name. And some are kinda difficult, for example: Cambaxirra Rouxinol (cahm-buh-she-huh -- ho-she-nohl). Yeah. Does that not sound Japanese? Now say it as fast as you can, and imagine someone saying it to you at that speed and you having to write it down.

Well. Tchau.


Monday, November 8, 2010

My First Week in Arapóngas

My Mission Office Pals: Elder Carter (secretary), me, Elder Galdino (AP), Elder Villela (finance)

My Home Boys: Elder Shirmer, Elder Prado, me and Elder de Jesus

The spectacular view from our 12th floor apartment!

Welcome to Arapóngas!!!

Well, we made it. So, Monday night we got to Londrina at midnight, and we didn’t have time to get any pizza from Pizza Hut. Bummer. I was really craving some. Oh well. Once we got there, we stayed awake even longer, talking -- and then Tuesday morning, we had to get up nice and early. 5:00 AM. All of the 11 trainers slept at the Assistant’s house in Londrina. Although, being 3 stories, it was not that cramped. Actually, the 3rd story is a patio, so it’s more like 2 stories. Then we all got ready and went to the mission home, aka President Tavares house. How weird it was to be there again, especifically* because it was almost exactly 1 year ago that I was in the exact opposite position -- I was the newbie. Me and Elder Nascimento, who arrived with me a year ago, reminisced a little. We arrived in a group of 17 back then, but it’s just the two of us from that group that are here now as trainers. So, we went upstairs to meet our newbies, and take part in a training session led by Elder Galdino. He did a good job. Then we all ate lunch together. After lunch was the presentation of trainers and trainees. There were 11 newbies, with only 3 Americans. In my group (a year ago) we had 11 Americans. Happily, more Brazilians are serving missions, and Americans are going to other countries. I heard that starting in January, there is suppose to be an arrival of South American elders (Argentina, Peru, Chile...). So that should be interesting. I’ve never met a Spanish speaking elder in Brazil.

Anyway, I’m training Elder de Jesus, from Brasilia. He gets crap from EVERYONE about his name, including me, but he’s cool about it. I tell everyone that there doesn’t exist a better companion than Jesus. He’s a super cool guy. He probably will be one of my best companions, because he’s obedient and willing. He was baptized 3 years ago, and within 4 days of being taught by the Elders!!! That’s not even allowed anymore!

Elder Schimer is training Elder Prado, from Goiás (which is close to Brasilia, in the middle of Brazil). The four of us are sharing an apartment on the 12th story of an old building right in the center of town. Awesome view! But, we probably won’t be here long, since the member who owned it, recently sold it.

Well after a couple of days of being lost, we are finally getting a handle on the area, and this next week should be good.

Oh yeah, Elder Campelo is also in my district. He’s in Apucarana. He was my companion 6 months ago in Bauru. He was my first junior companion.

Welp, tchau!
Elder Titus

* (from mom) I’m wondering if speaking Portuguese is starting to mess with his English. hehehe

Monday, November 1, 2010

I've Been Transferred to Arapóngas!

Zeke feeding the monkeys

The little guys were very friendly!

A closer look. So, what do you think? Ugly or cute?

Hey! So I’m super short on time. Real quick, here’s what’s going on:

While I’m technically still in Assis, I’m outta this joint in like an hour. We have to go to Marilia first. Then I will be going with Elder Schirmer to Londrina, where we will be staying with my bro, Elder Galdino for the night in their 3 story house. We will make sure to get Pizza Hut delivered tonight. Yes, Londrina has a Pizza Hut! But, we’re not staying in Londrina. Tuesday morning we’re gonna pick up our filhos (children), yes I had a child. OK, maybe not. I get to train a greenie. We’ll have our little trainer’s briefing from President Tavares. Then we’re off to our new area, which is the city of Arapóngas (are-uh-pohn-guhz), which was closed – but, we will be reopening it. So it should be fun. I can’t wait to get to the bus station in Arapóngas and have NO IDEA at all of where to go. Well, pray for us. And I believe that Elder Schirmer and his “son” will be living with us in the same apartment, but I’m not 100% sure about that, either. I hear Arapóngas is a big city, 103,000 peeps, and that there is some sort of established church there. We’ll see. Oh, and I will still be the District Leader. I guess President is trying to kill me!!! I have never opened an area before, and I've never trained a greenie, and I'm still really new at this DL stuff!!! Welp, should be interesting!

Okay, on to the monkeys. So we drove out to this place blindly, just looking for monkeys, which there are not exactly a lot of them in southern Brazil. Then, like 40 minutes later, we see a “Deer Crossing” sign, and there were a ton of little monkeys in the middle of the road. Not really sure what’s up with the deer crossing sign, but I AM in Brazil, so things like that don’t really bug me that much anymore. I have yet to see a deer. And will never see a deer, because there ARE NO deer in Brazil. Where they got the sign, I don’t know, they may have stolen it from Buckley, WA. We stopped the car and all these freaky monkeys started surrounding us and holding out their hands. So we got out and starting feeding them. Zeke who drove, left the sack of bananas on the hood, and one of the flippin monkeys stole the bag of banana´s, that little devil! So we got out some crackers, and that’s what they ate. They were fun and super friendly. I always thought that monkeys could never be ugly, but these little freakers were, but still cute at the same time.

Before I forget, p-days were changed to Mondays! So check the blog late Monday or Tuesdays for updates!

Welp, feijão legal*, more info next week.


*Feijão legal, means “cool beans,” but that phrase actually makes no sense in Portuguese.

Monday, October 25, 2010


This looks like fun!

Yo yo yo,

So, I’m good now, settled down, calm, controlled. Only thinking about cycling every now and then, instead of always.

Brazilian presidential elections are this Sunday. I don’t really like either of the candidates. They all seem corrupt to me, just like home, haha.

Well, Flavia finally returned, and she and Flora are progressing toward baptism, and if Flavia can stop smoking for sure, they can get baptized this weekend. They have made a ton of progress already though. Jozi, however, got a bad case of depression and is slowly recuperating, and I fear that I will not be there to see her get baptized since transfers are this coming Monday. And if I don’t get transferred I’m gonna pull out my hair. I talked to Elder Galdino* yesterday and he thinks I’m going to Foz do Iguaçu, but I’m not so sure. It would be neat, but I hear it gets super hot there -- as if it’s not hot enough, gracious. I think I’m going to Maringa. TREES, SHADE!!!! That would sure be nice during summer time!

Today we´re actually going to do something super fun for p-day. Since we have various cities in our area, we can travel a little bit. There is a city called Florinea that has some cool things to see, principally, on the way there, there are a ton of banana trees, and there are MONKEYS!!! So today a member is going to take us out there and we´re gonna see some monkeys! Also, there is a big river that separates the states of Sao Paulo and Parana. So we´re gonna see that, too. But unfortunately for ya´ll, you have to wait until next week to see the coolness.

This past week some guy asked the weirdest question, like a nonbeliever type of question: “So how do you explain about when Mary cheated on Joseph?” Haha, good grief. Really? Like, Mary, the mother of Jesus? Well okay, never heard that one before, but nonetheless, I explained to him that it wasn’t like that. Mary didn’t have an affair with the Holy Ghost.

Well, have a good week!


*Elder Galdino is one of the AP’s (Assistant to the President). He was one of my first companions, and my mom has kind of “adopted” him since he lost both of his parents this past March.

Monday, October 18, 2010

My First Case of Homesickness!

Missing the action . . .

. . . The Finish Sprint . . .

. . . The Podium

This week was HORRIBLE!!!!!!!!! Friday night when we were walking home through the centro of the city, guess what I saw!!! A bunch of guys setting up for a UCI professional bike race, “O Tour do Brasil.” And Stage One was going to end in Assis, on Saturday morning!!! Dang! Commence homesickness.... now!

Okay, well no way in heck was I going to miss it. Luckily it was in the morning, so we still got in our proselyting time. It was a very nicely done set-up. It was all decked out and they had everything except righteous techno music blasting at the finish. Oh, and the crowd had NO idea what was going on. Hence, NO ONE had cowbells, or even clapped. I was the only lunatic screaming when they came in at the finish.

There were 14 Brazilian teams (did not even know that Brazil HAD professional cycling), and 7 foreign teams. 5 South American teams, one US team, and one German team. “Sutter Home Cycling Team” was the name of the American team, and one of them took 4th place.

Anyway, it was cool, and I loved every bit of it. But, it came with one horrible consequence, that is that I’m a little “trunky,” or homesick – for the first time on my mission. I should say WAS homesick, because I’m over it now. It was interesting that I couldn’t focus at all for 2 days, just all my cycling memories. That finally made me understand something. In May of 2009, before I got my mission call, I had a very detailed dream. In the dream, I took out my call from the envelope and read out loud, “Brussels Belgium Mission.” Well, we all know that didn’t happen, and I always wondered why. Holy cow, now I understand! Belgium is one of the cycling capitals of the world, and if I would have been sent there I would have died of homesickness. And now I have grown to really appreciate cycling more since not being able to ride a bike for the last 14 months.

I was momentarily distracted -- but I'm back on target now!

Well, out of time.

Elder Titus

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A large Catholic Cathedral in Assis

Wow this week I swear we did nothing! Basically, because we didn’t. Monday we had district meeting, and Elder Morris got sick and didn’t wanna work. Wednesday was p-day. Thursday was another district meeting. And Friday, I had to go to Marilia to do a couple of baptismal interviews for our Zone Leaders. Then we slept there and came back on Saturday. So, as far as the work goes, I’ve had better weeks, that’s for sure.

Here is a picture of the Catholic Cathedral in downtown Assis. It’s bigger than it looks. There are like 20 or so catholic churches in Assis. And just one church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I'm anxious to get back to work!

Last night we ate dinner with a family from the ward, and the sister made some lemonade from scratch. It was really good and stuff, but there was one minor problem that I noticed as I was drinking. There were sugar ants floating in the water . . . after that first sip, I put the cup down. She asked me how it was, and I was like, “Mmmmmmm, Irmã.....muito bom....” (translation: “Mmmmmm, Sister….very good…”) Anyway, I was thirsty, so I drank the rest, too. Here’s the key when drinking ant juice -- just close your eyes, you can’t really taste them, and make sure you bless the water so you don’t get a disease and die. I love Brazil!

Well gotta run!

Elder Titus

PS The picture below is for Sister Hale and Sister Startin. They asked my mom if I really ate that much açaí -- you betcha! And straight out of the tub, too!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Hey hey hey,

So I’m finally returned to the promised land, Ássis. It´s gonna be fun now. A week without working here has put a slight crimp in our work, but, it shall be fixed, because now I’m super motivated to work, work, work. I have some new techniques to use now.

Last week was fun. On Monday, I did my first district meeting, which was cool. It went by super fast because we got there a little late. District meeting has the following activities: hymn, prayer, recitation of missionary purpose, testimony, 5 minutes of reading the missionary manual, the baptismal ladder (6 steps with 6 weekend dates, and the people written down who are scheduled to be baptized on those dates), then a training session based on the necessities of the district (ie: we need to learn about finding people) given by me, then a practice. We close the meeting with a hymn and a prayer. So yeah, it’s like that.

Then on Tuesday through Friday, I participated in a leadership training conference with President Tavares, and it was a blast. We learned a lot. There were 8 topics that we were being trained on, and we took 2 each day. The meetings got over at 6:00 PM and then we went and taught in Marilia like normal missionaries. The topics were:

Teach the Doctrine of Christ
The Role of the Spirit in Conversion
Revelation Through Prayer
Revelation Through The Book of Mormon
Revelation Through Church Attendance
Teach People, Not Lessons
We Invite, They Accept, We Follow Up
How to Start Teaching

Friday night we went to Jacarezinho, and then had the baptismal interview Saturday morning. João Pedro passed the interview. He was the first baptism in Jacarezinho in 10 months! Then we went back to Marilia to watch General Conference, unfortunately we only made it to watch the last part of the 2nd session. We also missed the Priesthood Session in the morning, but I got to watch all of the Sunday sessions. I especially liked the talk by Elder Larry R. Lawrence about parenting, even though I’m not a parent. It was still super good. And I liked Elder David A. Bednar’s talk about “Receiving the Holy Ghost.” And of course I really enjoyed President Monson´s talk about gratitude. It´s definitely something we could all work on.

I also had an interesting experience after his talk, which left me with an assurance that he is indeed the Lord’s Prophet. I meant no disrespect to God (by continually asking if things are true that I already know are true), but I asked Him if President Monson is indeed His Prophet. It was out of necessity, since as a missionary I have to testify multiple times daily that he is a prophet -- and while I have always believed that he was and is, I never actually asked God. So, I did, and I could feel in my heart that he is. Words can’t express the feelings that I felt -- they have to be felt individually. The Spirit bore witness to me in that moment and confirmed in my heart the things which I desired; feelings that were even stronger than when I asked if “The Book of Mormon” is true. I have never doubted that President Monson was a prophet, but now I know, because the Holy Ghost has made it known to me. You know why I like our church? Because the members aren’t following it blindly by the persuasive words of men, but rather, by the suave voice of the Spirit, because we honestly want to have a certainty that it’s not just another church, but THE true church of Christ. I actually ask everyone I teach to ask me why I follow our church, and then I tell them it's because I prayed about it. BURNED!

Okay, anyway so then Sunday night we headed to Ourinhos to spend the night there (on the floor) so we could have another district meeting Monday morning. Afterwards, we rode the bus to Assis, and got back at 5:00 PM. However, Elder Morris was sick, so we didn’t work at all.

Tuesday we saw this huge toad just chillin’!!!!

Oh so busy, but that´s life.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sorry, it's Derek's mom ... again. After checking my emails all day long on Saturday, I finally received a brief response from Derek late in the afternoon. He did not give me very many details, saying that time was short, but he assured me he would fill us in this Wednesday, regarding the conference he attended and how things are going. In my email to him, I asked how he was feeling, and his response back was:

"On fire, ready to convert the world!"

I'm anxious to read what he sends on Wednesday. Stay tuned!


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Short Email -- More on Saturday . . .

From mom: Elder Titus is involved in training this week to be a district leader. He was allowed to send a brief email to me, which read:

Yo mamãe, tudo bem?

Então, estou na conferência ainda, mas o Presidente deixou a gente mandar email para as nossas familias dizendo que poderemos mandar um email no sábado. (Translation: So, I'm still at the conference, but the President let us send an email to our families saying we can send an email on Saturday).

I have to go to Jacarezinho sometime on Saturday to do a baptismal interview, and I don't know when I will have time to use the internet, but, I should have some time to send you something.

Conference is going great!!


Elder Titus

(From mom: Check back on Sunday. If Derek finds the time to send an email, I should have it up by Sunday. Thanks for following his blog!)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

There is nothing as sweet as a person that is converted by the Spirit.

Surprise!!!! I’m still here in Assis. Awesome...

I could have sworn that when I received my call it said that I was going to serve in the “Brazil Londrina Mission.” I think they should change it to “Brazil Assis Mission,” because I've been here and will continue to be here forever. I may indeed not ever get out of this place. My dear friend Elder Dunn who WAS our District Leader in Ourinhos, has left the coop and was transferred to my last area of Bauru, to be Zone Leader -- and I will be taking his place as district leader. I surely didn't see THAT coming. So what is a district leader? Well, he´s still a normal missionary, but has quite a bit more responsibility. First of all, he conducts the district meetings, so he has to plan out the trainings involved, the practices, all based on the necessities of the district. He also is the one that interviews the baptismal candidates of the other areas (in this case the areas of Ourinhos and Jacarezinho). And at the end of the week, he collects the numbers from the other areas, and passes them on to the zone leaders. He, if necessary, corrects any problems with the missionaries in the district. He motivates the missionaries to do better and to reach further, and sometimes if necessary, burns the heck out them if they are fubecas*(I’m not looking forward to doing that, but am completely prepared if necessary). So in conclusion, it should be an interesting experience.

On Wednesday night our dear friend Flavio prayed to know if the church was true and if he should join it. In response, he felt that it indeed is. Well, now it’s easy. There is nothing as sweet as a person that is converted by the Spirit. It makes my part SO much easier. I will admit that some of the people that I have baptized have not been converted completely by the Spirit. Namely, the family of Marlene, but for some people they just don’t need a spiritual confirmation, they just... believe. With Marlene, I invited her to be baptized, and scheduled a date and prepared her until the date, and if she was prepared she would be baptized. To be baptized, a person needs to have 3 things: desire; be keeping the commandments, and be willing to keep them throughout their life. If they have these 3 things, we CAN’T keep them from being baptized. The biggest part of conversion comes after baptism anyway.

So Flavio works on Saturdays, so we marked his baptism for last Sunday. Elder Morris did a great job of baptizing him.

As promised my top 10 most dearly missed foods:
1- French Toast
2- Dairy Queen Blizzards (namely Reeses peanut butter cups)
3- Salmon
4- Teriyaki (it is not found anywhere in this country!!!!)
5- Fettuccini alfredo (yes it is here, but after working at Cucina Fresca for 4 months, nothing comes close)
6- A good ole American burger
7- Real milk (it’s all boxed milk here that can last for a year on the shelf)
8- Cinnamon life cereal
9- Seedless watermelon
10- Pizza Hut (Brazilian pizza is common here, but it is my least favorite food. They just don’t know how it’s done.)

Next week I will not be doing regular missionary work at all. Monday we have a district meeting in Ourinhos, and then we will be going to Marilia to have a “Leadership Conference” with all the district leaders and zone leaders from Marilia, Bauru, Tupa and Presidente Prudente for 4 days with the Assistants and President Tavares. Saturday and Sunday is General Conference in Marilia. I’m not even sure if I will have a p-day next week.

That was a long blog. Take care, and good night!

Elder Titus

*a "fubeca" is a slacker.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

German Pancakes! Blissfulness!

How would you like a chicken for an indoor pet?

Olá meus queridos!

WOW everything went wrong this week!!! Okay! Tudo bem, welcome to my life as a missionary! Just another reminder that I’m in control of nothing!!! (Well, except my attitude, which is just fine.) So we had this activity at the church on Saturday, and it was really fun. We’re doing activities every week, related to missionary work. Each week we share a message from “Preach My Gospel,” because we’re trying to make it a home utilized book, not just a missionary book. And this Saturday was an activity at the church, and we got President Jorge (our branch president) to come, and he shared a message about developing Christ-like attributes, (which just so happens to be my favorite section). Then we ate some cake, and then had some egg racing. Flavio came, and he even brought along a friend, and his friend from the branch came too, as well as his roommate. It was a good turnout from the members, also. Flavio said that he would be coming to church the next day, Sunday. HE DIDN’T SHOW!!!! Arrghhhh! Baptism, cancelled!!! You have to go to church at least 2 times before you can be baptized.

At an investigator’s house, named Eloi, we made root beer. It turns out some missionary that passed through here about 2 years ago left them some extract. And they never used it. So I saw it and got excited. The root beer turned out okay. I told them it would be good with vanilla ice cream, so they went to the store and came back with strawberry and chocolate ice cream. Well.... it wasn’t that bad, but it’s certainly wasn't as good as vanilla would have been.

I sat down and compiled a list of the top 10 things I miss most (not necessarily in order). Family and friends not included.

#1 - French Toast (food has sooo many categories that I will create another top 10 list just for food another time)
#2 - My Bicycle
#3 - My Freedom/Independence
#4 - Wearing Shorts 24/7
#5 - Cold Weather
#6 - BYU-Idaho
#7 - English (Elder Morris doesn’t count, I can’t understand his English)
#8 - American Measuring System (pounds, gallons, miles, feet, inches....)
#9 - Facebook
#10 - Flirting


Here’s a challenge for you. Try to say this: Três Pratos de Trigo, para Três Tigres Tristes. (Roll the “r’s,” but only once; Brazil is not Mexico) Translated: 3 plates of flour for 3 sad tigers.

Well, transfers are next week on Wednesday. I’d rather not stay here for 4 transfers. But we'll see. So, do you remember the zones? Starting from south to north. Iguaçu Falls, Cascavel, Apucarana, Maringá (Elder McCombs!!!), Tiradentes (Londrina #1), Londrina (#2), Bauru (been there, done that), Marilia (current zone), Presidente Prudente, Tupã. Where do you think I will be writing from next week?

Elder Titus

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Hanging out with a Brazilian goat

Awesome flowers. I have no idea what kind they are.


This week, like every week, was good, but kinda uneventful -- especially as far as funny stories or spiritual experiences go. Sorry....

Well, my pessimistic prediction was fulfilled as Jozie and family have gone on vacation and won’t return for a week. Baptism, hindered.

For the last 2 weeks we have been having a ward family night on Fridays, in hopes of getting some new investigators from the members. The first week went well, but the four investigators weren’t really investigating. The second week went really well. We did it in Candido Mota, and we had a turn out of 27 people. Nine investigators, one of which was Flavio, a friend of a member who was just baptized last December, named Christiano. Flavio is 23 and he is way cool. He asked questions during our lesson about the Plan of Salvation," that me and the ward mission leader taught. And we went back to teach him the first lesson and he liked it. He even went to church on Sunday, and we have taught him more. Cool guy, super potential. Might just be my last hope before the transfer on the 22nd of this month.

We did a division this last week, and Elder Dunn our District Leader came here. It was nice to teach with someone who could assist. (My companion is still struggling with the Portuguese language.) We taught Augusto an awesome lesson that we had prepared for him about sacrificing. He said that he will make a super effort to come to church this week. And then we taught Flavio about The Book of Mormon.

Well, I will try to make something funny happen this week for ya´ll.

Tchau, until next week.

Elder Titus

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I'm Wanted...

Beautiful Brazilian countryside, just outside of Assis

Supermissionary is called in for the tough jobs!

Olá, meus queridos seguidores, (translation: Hello, my dear followers)

Okay, so sorry I didn’t really give any updates, I know you guys are dying to hear about what’s going on currently in my life, so forgive me, I am unworthy...

So, at the one year mark, all missionaries have to renew their visas, and get re-fingerprinted. We have yet to do this. So, if I get picked up by the police, I’m a gonner. I could get deported. But, it’s the secretary’s problem, and both the secretaries are former companions, ahh, it makes more sense now – they’re getting back at me!! Elder Carter and Elder Villela are their names. If I get deported, I’m egging their houses.

However, until I get deported, I will continue to preach the gospel.

Jozi was sick but is better now. She went to church last Sunday and after Sacrament Meeting came up to me and told me that she was touched by the Stake President’s talk and wants to mark a date for her baptism. Well okay now, take it easy, we will. Don’t worry. So it’s marked, September 10th. But it’s not over, keep praying that everything will go well. A lot can happen in 10 days.

Augusto still has to decide if he’s going to farm, or if he’s going to church. Decisions decisions!!!

So, we live close to a grocery store that has 4 American goodies. I am happy. Estou FELIZ!!!!! (If you look closely at the labels, the name is in English, but the other information is in Portuguese!)

Well, that’s about it. Tchau


Oh my sweetness! American candy just down the street!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Letter to the Crestwood Ward (but you can read it, too!)

A beautiful sunset in Assis

We don't have a dryer -- so this is my best "quick fix" for wet socks!

To my beloved Crestwood Ward,

‘Tis I, Elder Titus, speaking as one crying from the dust to proclaim to the world that I, indeed, am still alive. Yea, the very same Elder Titus who left your presence one year ago and headed to a foreign land situated on the other end of the globe. Remember me? Good. Well, I’m doing great, and the work is just swell. Brazil hasn’t changed at all, and it's still hotter than it should be. We’re in the dead of winter here, and yesterday was 93 degrees. Nonetheless, the work moves on.

Currently I’m living in the middle of nowhere, in a city called Assis, population 100,000. And Area Assis is the biggest area in the mission, or to put it in perspective, my area is the size of the Seattle Mission. District meetings are a 2 hour bus ride away. We cover 10 smaller cities each 30-45 minutes outside of Assis. I’ve travelled to only 5 of them. There should be churches in all of them, but I’m afraid I have to quote the Savior in Matthew 9 when He said “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few.” In conclusion, we need more missionaries, until then, there will only be a church building in Assis. As for the progress here, it's kinda weird; On a good Sunday we have an attendance of 80, which isn’t bad, but seeing as though the church has been here for 20 years, it isn’t really good either . . . nevertheless we are making good progress here, and the majority of the people are working to turn the branch into a ward.

Well, my last companion was Elder McCombs from Puyallup, so that was cool to get to spend some time with somebody from my own neck of the woods, but he was transferred. At the moment, I’m training Elder Morris, who is from Mississippi, he’s only my second American companion. Good guy, big heart. We are doing super well together and teaching well. Currently, we are teaching a lady named Jozi, who was recently a Catholic missionary and sings in the catholic choir, and she and her family are progressing super well. I’m not leaving Assis until I baptize them! You can ask my mom what happens.

Well, much has been accomplished in this last year. I have walked approximately 3,300 miles, eaten the same lunch of rice and beans everyday, talked to around 7,500 people about the gospel, and been an instrument in the hands of God by administering the ordinances of salvation to many of His children. I echo the words of Alma when he said, “I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy. And behold, when I see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, then is my soul filled with joy; then do I remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer; yea, then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me.”

But my phrasing is in the present tense, for the Lord hears my prayers and His merciful arm is constantly extended towards me (oh, if I could only tell the stories, but can’t because my mom is listening), and my soul is being filled with joy, because I am seeing God’s children come unto Him. Such joy can only be experienced as a missionary, and while negative experiences occur almost daily, they are always for our profit and learning, and in the end, if we endure it well, we become stronger.

Brothers and Sisters, this is the true gospel of Jesus Christ. I know why I’m here. I’m here to declare to Brazil our unique message, which is: Through a modern day prophet, God has restored knowledge about the plan of salvation, which is centered on Christ’s Atonement, and fulfilled by living the first principles and ordinances of the gospel. It is the most important message in the world. I thank my Heavenly Father daily that I have the privilege of sharing it daily. I love my Savior, for no other reason would I do this for 2 years. In fact, I love Him so much that I hope to get an extension to my mission, we’ll see though, it’s a political problem.

This last year has been great, but I’m no pessimist, my mission is not half empty, it's half full. I have much yet to accomplish, and as far as I’m concerned, I’ve only just begun.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I could feel for myself that yes, it is indeed true

Our humble supply of copies of "The Book of Mormon"

Me and my new companion, Elder Morris

Howdy y’all!

As y’all might already be able to perceive, I be pickin’ up my new comp’s suthurn accent. Elder Morris be his name, and he be from Woolmarket, Mississippi. He dun assured me that his family ain’t into da market of sellin' wool.

So, it’s tchau, tchau to Elder McCombs (I’m a gonna miss him) and howdy to Elder Morris. As I said last week, he’s super new, just starting his 2nd transfer and upon conversing with him, it turns out that his 1st transfer was beyond dismal. He was only able to make it a few weeks with his trainer (1st companion) before he had to go and stay with a host of other missionaries. The last week of the transfer he went back to stay with his trainer, and by the end of that week, he had marked “The Interview” with President Tavares in order to get his plane ticket to return home. President Tavares told him that he had been praying hard to know who he should put Elder Morris with, and that he knew exactly who that was, and asked him to give it one more shot. And here we are.

Turns out, Elder Morris is just a big misunderstood teddy bear, and all he really needed was one of my healing hugs. Elder Morris is a good guy, just a little lost. My only hope is that I can help him find his way (NOT back to Mississippi), and help him understand that yes, the mission some days may seem impossible, but that we need to realize that we are here for a greater cause (for complete love of the Savior) and we have a greater purpose (to bring His lost sheep back to the fold). We can’t let anything get in the way of fulfilling our purpose. The mission is FULL of trials, but I am reminded of a quote that was above the refrigerator when I was just a lad; it read: “I never said it would be easy; I only said it would be worth it.” And so it is. And if I can help Elder Morris understand this, and stay on his mission, then I will understand why Pres. Tavares felt inspired to send him to me.

Nonetheless, Elder Morris has already been a huge blessing. He has the “Official Missionary Elastic Workout Band,” of which I have yet to acquire. Dude, I’ve been going to town on that puppy . . . miraculous results? Behold the picture! With no other elastic workout band would I be able to obtain such strength – only with the “Official Missionary Elastic Workout Band.” Not sold in stores.
Check out the muscle!

OK. On a more serious note: These past few weeks, I had the opportunity of completing (for the 3rd time), "The Book of Mormon." Contained in the last chapter is a promise that I now hold very dear to my heart, which says that upon reading the book, pondering and praying to our Father in Heaven, we can receive a testimony of it’s truthfulness, by the power of the Holy Ghost (see Moroni 10:3-5, below). Furthermore, in "Preach My Gospel" (the missionary manual) on page 111, you read “You, too, should apply this promise regularly to strengthen and renew your own testimony of "The Book of Mormon." This renewed testimony will help you maintain a firm confidence that anyone who applies this promise will receive the answer.” And so I did. And upon finishing, I knelt and asked God if what I had read was true, if the book really was a testimony of Jesus Christ written by a Christian people that lived on this continent 2000 years ago, brought forth by God, and translated by Joseph Smith, by the power of God. In response, I could feel for myself that yes, it is indeed true. I felt feelings of love and peace that must be experienced by everyone individually.

Last night, we were teaching Augusto about "The Book of Mormon," and at the end of the lesson, I bore my testimony of the truthfulness of it, and upon doing so, I felt so much stronger in that moment than earlier this week, about its divinity. I became emotional for the first time on my mission. I have a testimony of "The Book of Mormon." Before, I think my testimony was based on factual evidence; in other words, I could prove it was true by using Bible scriptures. But now I have received an answer from a loving Father in Heaven; an answer that can never be proven false, for I know that God cannot lie.

I know that anyone who truly and sincerely searches for this answer, as I have, will obtain it. And how good it is to know, for now, no one will ever be able to take away the knowledge that I have.

Until next week,
Elder Titus

Moroni 10:3-5
Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

When we don't go, we slowly forget...

Silvia's Baptism Day

Our Tower of Açaí (Elder McCombs and I ate THIS much in one month!)

Yo yo,

This week was good, but sad. Currently, I’m here in Marilia, waiting to pick up my new comp, Elder Morris. Elder McCombs, my bestie, is on his way to Maringá, city of trees. I’m sad, but life goes on.... well, I hear Elder Morris is from Mississippi, so it should be a new experience. He’s starting his second transfer, so he’s quite new. I also hear he is a big dude.

On Saturday, we had the baptism of Silvia, and all went well. She choose Elder McCombs to baptize her, and I was glad because the water was super cold. We’re asking for a water heater... we’ll see. I gave a talk about “the gospel” (faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the holy ghost, and endure to the end) at the baptismal service, because not a lot of people went. But it was still good.

Jozie and family are progressing very well. They all (minus Rogerio, the husband) went to church. Tomorrow we’re gonna go visit them and bring along a male member of the church with a strong testimony, who is from Candido Mota, to try and befriend Rogerio so he comes to church.

Everyone else is doing awesome. And Augusto has returned for good now because he started college, so hopefully he goes to church this week and remembers how great it is, and gets baptized. He’s kinda forgotten how great he felt when he went in June, but that’s how it goes. When we don’t go, we slowly forget how good it feels until we get accustomed to not going. That’s one of the many reasons why we need to go church every week!

Crazy news: one of my former companions, Elder Galdino (the one whose parents died a couple months back) is now Assistant to the President, which is crazy (in a good way). This is a position that is usually reserved for the elders with only 3 or so months left on their missions, and he has 10 months to go. I knew he would be AP some day, but holy cow, that was quick!!! So, parabens* to Elder Galdino, he’ll be a great leader!

Well, see ya later!


*parabens = congratulations

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Yea For Member Referrals!

Zone Conference. That's my companion, Elder McCombs on the front row, left side.

A map of our area. We live in Assis, but travel to other cities close by.

This is sooo awesome! I think we need these in America!

Oi colegas! There’s a lady at the post office that says that to us, it’s annoying. It means collegues, we’re not amigos, just colegas.

Last p-day was a good one. After I used this sweet phone (see pic above), we ate lunch at a burger place in Ourinhos with the gang. On the long bus ride back home, my companion, Elder McCombs started feeling sick. When we got off the bus, he barfed muito! And then many more times on the 2 block trek back home. Poor thing. As for me, well, I have the immune system of a hippo, so the food didn’t even phase me. Plus, I ate açaí that morning. I testify that it works. If they ever make an açaí commercial, I’m there. Anyway, he’s all better now.

The rest of the week was good though. We are teaching a family in Candido Mota, (see map of our area minus Ourinhos, and south of the river) who are progressing very well. Jozi, her daughters Stefani and Ianca, and recently her husband Rogério, and Jozi’s mom, Flora.

Silvia is going to get baptized this Saturday (as long as she passes the interview, of course). She lives in Maracaí (on the map, it is to the west of Assis). And another investigator, Augusto, is still hiding on the farm. Ugh. We are also working with a few members that have some references, and we will probably make contact with them next week. Yea for member references!

Last week, we were teaching this one elderly guy (José) and in the middle of the lesson, he got up from his chair, went into another room, grabbed his guitar, and then commenced playing and singing two songs for us. He was actually pretty good for a 70-year-old. It was sweet.

Well, I have writer’s block and can’t remember anything else at the moment...take care, and see ya later!

- Elder Tito

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

That is a Good Sign That the Members Trust Us

Birthday cake with Marco and family...

... and more birthday cake, this time with Irma Ophelia, Flora and their families

New cell phones!


VACA SAGRADA* I´M 20!!!! Yes, you sinners that didn’t tell me happy birthday, 'twas my birthday last week! And, thank you! -- to those who did remember. Well, I pretty much feel the same.... my b-day was cool though. We taught 3 lessons, but in the 3rd one we watched the “The Other Side of Heaven.” It was sweet. And throughout the week I got various random cakes. I’ve eaten sooo much cake this week because everyone loves me. Last night we had my b-day barbeque, and it was cool. Irmão Marcos grilled up shish-kabobs with chicken hearts. Elder McCombs was about to die. I ate 2 kabobs, he ate like one little heart. They do smell super weird, but they’re not that bad. Then we had more cake.

Right now I’m currently in Ourinhos, because President Tavares wanted to do interviews here. The bus ride is awful. It’s an hour and 45 minutes long, and makes a ton of stops. We had to get up at 4:40 AM today. Awesome. However, my interview was cool. President Tavares shared a spiritual thought from Joshua 1:5-7, when Joshua was filling the shoes of Moses, and felt inadequate. The Lord tells him that He will be there with him, just as He was with Moses, and told him to be strong and of good courage, and follow the law that was given to Moses. Then in verse 8 it says that he will have success. It was a good little thought. At the end he gave me a blessing (he gave a blessing to everyone he interviewed). Interesting too, is that he asked about the work here, and I told him that we are receiving member references. He told us that is a strong sign that the members trust us. Yea!

Flavia is out of town. We are now teaching Flora’s daughter, Jozie, and her children. The lessons there are sweet. Jozie’s husband has potential further down the road. They all went to church, minus the husband

Augusto returned, then went away again, but has now returned again. Also that lady I talked about last week, Silvia, is still all set for August 7th.

Also we got a new cell phone!!

Time is short, so . . .

Tchau, until next week,

Elder Titus

*Vaca sagrada! = Holy cow!